Monday, October 10, 2011

Viva España!

Incredible Parador in Carmona
So where, you may have been asking (or not) has Grapeshot been for lo, these many weeks?  Truth be told, she was swanning around Portugal and Southern Spain, sampling the wines, the cheeses and especially the Spanish hams.  Viva Jamon Iberico!  She saw Moorish castles, Roman ruins, Spanish cathedrals and palaces and 40 million of the 80 million (or is it 800 million?) olive trees.  Cork trees, too.  Bulls outstanding in the field.  Sheep.  Goats.  Jacaranda trees in Lisbon.  Umbrella pines.  Listened to Fado.

I never knew what a Spanish breakfast was.  Take a slice of good white bread or slice a roll.  Spread with fresh tomato pulp.  Add a few slices of good Spanish ham.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Eat.  Yum!

Iberico hams displayed
 The scenery, the history, the accommodations and the company couldn't be beat.  We ended the trip in Madrid in an orgy of museum visits.  Then, we got head/chest colds to die for, yes, and we thought we were going to.  Came home with two weeks laundry to find the washing machine crapped out.  30 pounds of junk mail and lots of bills awaited.  A bare larder.  Cats who needed lots of attention. Waking at 3:30 a.m. two days running.  News of the Red Sox debacle.  Maybe we are dead and this is hell.  No, just the yin and yang of life. 

Two books I should mention.  Before the event, we read James Michener's Iberia, a non-fiction record of his travels in Spain many years ago.  I also began reading Washington Irving's Tales of the Alhambra, which turned out to be sort of an early Michener-style book with many good stories and digressions.  The book, Food of Spain, came out during prep for the trip and we read Traveler's Tales of Spain, also good.

I can't remember the last time I immersed myself into a culture or activity so deeply.  Well, when I wrote my last novel.   Significant Other kept the trip diary and took the photos, and I took notes on some curiosities that caught my eye.  

Settle in for a few weeks of more traveler's tales from Spain.  Right now, I have to put another load of laundry into the new washer.  We didn't even have to visit the laundromat because Sears delivered it so speedily.  There is food in the house and we are pleased to discover that our little hummingbirds have finally migrated.  Wish them godspeed on their long journey.  The slough has turned red and the early fall light is fantastic.  But everything looks so different.  Where are the olive trees?  I did find the ham in Garden City, New York, but it will have to wait until I'm in the neighborhood.  Of course we packed on a few pounds in spite of all the walking and climbing of stairs.  And my last word today is that there must be 100 recipes for Gazpacho, but the best we had was in Cordoba.  And it had little bits of ham!   Viva España!  Where flan is on the breakfast buffet along with hundred's of other delicacies.  I did other activities besides eating, really I did. 


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